Ben from the Envato Community Team recently launched a Community Health Survey on the Forums. Read about why we did this, why it is important and get an overview of the insights from the data we collected.
Firstly, huge thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s survey – you’ve helped to give us some valuable insights into how the community currently operates, and which areas we can focus on in 2018! In this post, I’ll give a quick overview of what the survey was for, and show a few stats and graphs from the data we’ve received.
What is Community Health?
The survey is based on a concept called Sense of Community – the idea that there are a few distinct components that contribute to making a community into a thriving, active and engaging place. As part of Envato’s Community Team, part of my job involves working on projects that help us to provide the best environment for all the different parts of our community to succeed: authors, customers, staff members, and all the other groups who share this space.
The core of this year’s Community Health survey involved eight questions, covering four areas:
- Reinforcement of needs looks at whether the forums contain people aligned towards similar goals, and whether members feel able to share issues here. (Q1 & 2, on the graphs below)
- Membership includes trust between community members, and (contributing to this) whether people recognize the other people they share the forums with. (Q3 & 4)
- Influence covers personal control over the environment and faith in the ability of other community members to help solve problems together. (Q5 & 6)
- Shared emotional connection is about connections between members and connection to the community itself. (Q7 & 8)
Who took part?
We had 573 people take part this year, which was an amazing response to our first survey. Of those, around 10% were customers, 60% were authors, and 30% fit into both groups.
ThemeForest and AudioJungle members were the largest marketplace groups, with VideoHive, CodeCanyon and GraphicRiver members also well represented. We had a few from 3DOcean and PhotoDune, and even a handful of Elements-only people.
Most of the people taking part this year have been part of the Envato community for 2-3 years, although 15% of participants have been with us for more than 6 years – including several 10- and 11-year veterans!
How did the different marketplaces compare?
On the graphs below, higher numbers (corresponding to the “strongly agree” responses) are on the outside, while lower numbers (“strongly disagree”) are closer to the center. Here’s what the five biggest marketplaces looked like, including both customers and authors:
You can see similar patterns across all areas, with the connection questions rating highly, and some of the membership and influence questions rating a bit lower. The AudioJungle community stands out in almost all areas – hopefully, the feeling of being part of an active and relatively tight-knit community is shared by the AJ people reading this
CodeCanyon and ThemeForest are the most affected by whether people feel like they know/ recognize other members, most likely due to the sheer number of authors and customers posting there. That’s something we’d like to help improve, particularly as Q8 shows that almost everyone is keen to stick around for a long time!
What about member types?
Customer-facing forum categories are still pretty new here, as the old Envato forums were very focused on the authors in each marketplace. During the last 12-18 months, we’ve been steadily increasing the number of customer-facing things we offer, from contests to Looking For threads.
These play an important role in helping new customers to stick around, and in bringing in new potential customers via search. More than that, customers are a vital part of our community – so when our work is based on values like When the community succeeds, we succeed it’s essential for us to make sure we’re also serving that group properly.
From this graph, you can see that we run different initiatives aimed at specific groups: some will only be relevant to authors, some to customers. If you’re one of the (large!) crossover group, all this stuff is potentially interesting to you – so it’s great to see that group rating the highest across the board.
Many of the customers here are quite new to the community, or haven’t been very active in a (previously) very author-heavy space – so there’s a lot we can do towards getting people comfortable with speaking up and joining in discussions, as well as building recognition and trust of the other regular faces in their chosen parts of the forums.
How does this change over time?
This one’s particularly interesting for the clear trends shown: for some areas like influence, these ratings go down the longer people are part of the community. Recognition also drops in some cases, but that’s often part of people feeling more connected to the “old guard” than they do to all these newcomers they see around their old haunts.
Influence over the space you spend your time in is a big deal though, and it’s something we’ll be looking at over the coming year. There are a few different ways this manifests. Control over product decisions (e.g. changing features on Envato Market) isn’t really in the scope of what the Community team can affect, as those decisions are typically made after a great deal of testing and data analysis. However, there’s plenty of room for influence over other aspects.
For example, we’ve recently seen a few AudioJungle authors writing new tips articles, or starting threads that make a deliberate attempt to shift the tone of conversation away from review-queue complaints and into constructive, author-to-author discussions that let people share and learn from their peers. The ability to make that kind of change (and the results that come from it) are part of the reason why the AJ community is so strong.
There’s also potential scope to involve the community more in decisions about the forum platform itself – when and how we add or change categories, introduce new features, and gradually evolve the design of these forums to suit what the members need to use it for. We’ll be rolling out a series of small changes throughout 2018, and I’d love to involve some of our regular community members in feedback and testing for these. You’ll hear more from me about these as the year goes on!
Thanks again to all those who took part in this year’s Community Health survey, and I hope to see you all on the forums throughout the next year.
If you have any questions or want to continue the conversation, jump over to the Envato Forums and connect with your fellow author community.